Briefing: Huawei quietly opens 5G lab in South Korea

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Huawei launches 5G lab in South Korea, but keeps event low-key after U.S. ban – Reuters

What happened: Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei launched an open lab for the next-generation 5G wireless network in South Korea on Thursday. The company said it would invest about $5 million in the lab and build a 5G ecosystem through cooperation with local technology and telecom companies. Huawei had initially considered inviting the press to the launch in South Korea, but after the recent blacklisting by the United States, it decided to keep the event low-key and kept the press out. The lab is Huawei’s first open 5G services development center in the world that will allow other companies to test their platforms, according to the company.

Why it’s important: South Korea’s SK Telecom launched the world’s first nationwide 5G services in April, but the US is urging the country to ban Huawei products. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said last week that it was in talks with the US about national security concerns over the use of Huawei’s equipment. Currently, Huawei provides 5G gears for a small South Korean carrier LG Uplus, who promised to step up security checks on Huawei equipment. The country’s two biggest carriers, SK Telecom and KT, do not use Huawei gear; SK Telecom reportedly granted contracts to Samsung, Nokia, and Ericsson to supply its 5G equipment.